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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Robert L. Simons Collection

Identifier: 1998-05-05-B
The Robert L. Simons Collection is comprised of materials relating to Simons’ career as a military and commercial pilot from the 1920s-1940s, including logbooks, military records, photographs, and films.

There are six logbooks from Simons’ time as a commercial pilot in various U.S. cities spanning from 1928-1947. Several licenses and cards are included, include pilot's and mechanic's licenses, a radio operator's license, a military identification card, and membership cards for the OX5 Aviation Pioneers and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The collection's photographs are comprised of several portraits of Simons, some in his U.S. Army Air Forces uniform, and a portrait of an unidentified man. There is also a folder of assorted clippings.

The films, which were likely taken by Simons, contain a mix of content, such as travel and aerial footage, National Air Race footage, and footage depicting commercial and U.S. military aircraft. The films are from the late 1930s and early 1940s. They range from under a minute to 17 minutes in length. Because Simons most likely shot the footage, he does not appear in any of the films.

The collection also includes short snorter bills consisting of signed bank notes from Algeria, Egypt, the Republic of China, Morocco, Greenland, Mexico, Canada, and the United States.


  • 1925-1972
  • Majority of material found within 1938-1948


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. The film in this collection may not be handled, but a digital surrogate is available on our The Museum of Flight Digital Collections. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


1.7 Cubic Feet (one document box and 15 film reels)


Robert Lewis Simons was a military and commercial pilot in the mid-twentieth century. The Collection is comprised of materials relating to Simons’ career , including log books, military records, photographs, and films.

Biographical Note: Robert L. Simons

Robert Lewis Simons was a military and commercial pilot in the mid-twentieth century.

Simons was born on September 23, 1905 in Hebron, Maine. He was a barnstormer on the East Coast for most of the 1920s, then worked as a transport pilot for airlines including Robertson Aircraft Co., Stearman Aircraft Co., Boeing Airplane Co., Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. (later Trans World Airlines), and Wilmington-Catalina Airlines, Ltd.

In 1931, he began working for the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Bureau of Air Commerce (BAC). He worked for the BAC in various roles until 1942 when he was called to active duty with the U.S. Army Air Corps. Simons served in various places, including Canada, Greenland, Iceland, England, and locations within the U.S. He was honorably discharged in 1945 as a Major. After the war he returned to the Civil Aeronautics Authority, precursor to the Federal Aviation Administration.

He moved to Seattle in 1952. Simons died on October 4, 1973.

Biographical note derived from collection and donor materials.


The materials were organized by format.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired from a family member.


No further accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Separated Materials

Two metal membership cards for Quiet Birdmen and one vinyl document case were transferred to the Objects collection.
Guide to the Robert L. Simons Collection
Completed - Level 3
A. Matthews
Description rules
Language of description
Processing, cataloging, and digitization of the films in this collection was made possible by a Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR) "Recordings at Risk" grant.
Edition statement
1st edition

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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